Renee laughs about vanilla ice cream on January 9, 2015 under the bridge off of Broadway near downtown Knoxville.

Once I gave her the remainder of my birthday cake to share with Tumbleweed and Volanda if she saw them, all Renee could talk about was getting her hands on vanilla ice cream to go with the cake,


Cassie Waters in front of the pizza tree on January, 9.

If pushing forty looks as good as Cassie Waters, anyone past thirty should be getting excited. Cassie, who is “hard up for dance parties,” is an union organizer in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was the second person on my birthday to tell me not to feel like I am getting old at twenty-six. 


Naomi speaks of her ultimate goal and life in London by the time she is twenty-six.

Last time she moved to London, Naomi Peacock had only five pounds in her pocket. She envisions herself moving to London sometime in the near future with more money and a well thought out plan. Recently she has been traveling throughout Canada, Middle and East Tennessee. Her next plane is taking her to Peru and in mid-February she will fly back home to New Zealand.


William’s early-fifties advice, “stay out of prison and go to school. If you aren’t in school think about how you can go back again.”

William was eating chicken wings as he crossed Magnolia Avenue in East Knoxville to continue walking West on the opposite sidewalk. He has worked at the same job for four years after moving from New York.


Carolyn shows off her ten year anniversary ring from McDonald’s on the KAT bus from East Knoxville to Downtown Knoxville.

Carolyn is starting 2015 happy. With a new job, lots of birthdays to celebrate, and for the first time in nine years her husband will be by her side. After working at McDonald’s for thirty years she was able to buy a new car and start a new job. Starting this month she began driving the Vol Trolley for Knoxville Area Transit. Soon she will start learning the Downtown Loop. By May, just in time for her birthday, she hopes to be reunited with her husband who has been incarcerated for the past nine years.


“I don’t remember 26 because it was so long ago.” – Jeff

Jeff said he didn’t remember twenty six very well. Then he was able to recount life being married, divorced, and in a spirtual null. Jeff was in his third year of marriage and “didn’t have another year in it.”

With that, I asked him if he could help build the community darkroom.

I want to be able to pay people, such as Jeff, for their work with Knoxville’s first (maybe not first, have to email around to verify that) community darkroom. With the right materials, Jeff said he could build anything.

I first met Jeff while volunteering with The Amplifier, (see As a vendor Jeff sells papers all over downtown Knoxville depending on the day and crowd. On January 8th he didn’t sell a single paper despite standing out in the cold for a few hours in freezing temperatures. He spent thirty-three cents on the paper that he holds up to sell.


Leon at his regular spot at the downstairs bar of the Downtown Grill and Brewery.

After joining the Navy at nineteen, Leon looks well rested as we chat at Downtown Grill and Brewery on Gay Street. He puts in a full day, every day. Retirement means home improvement for this South Knox County resident. Earlier on the 9th he had been laying down flooring.

These photographs were taken on my twenty-sixth birthday. January 9, 2015.

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